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Incorrectly Recorded Penicillin Allergy – Increased risk of MSRA & C.difficile infection

NICE has warned healthcare professionals and the public that people who incorrectly believe they are allergic to penicillin are unnecessarily put at an increased risk of developing MRSA or C difficileIncorrectly identifying people as allergic could also contribute to antimicrobial resistance, as people are likely to be given broad-spectrum antibiotics. 

Studies suggest that:

  • Around 10% of the UK population has a penicillin allergy documented in their clinical notes, but that only around 5% of these people actually have a ‘true’ penicillin allergy.
  • People with a penicillin allergy recorded in their notes are almost 70% more likely to develop MRSA and around 25% more likely to develop C difficile.

Healthcare staff should be aware of this and ensure that only people with a true allergy to penicillin are documented as such.